Amir wanders aimlessly through the streets and stops in a small tea house. He feels that everything he had known was a lie, but now he can recognize the many signs – Baba always buying Hassan presents, fixing his cleft lip, becoming enraged when Amir suggested they get new servants, weeping when Ali and Hassan left. Amir thinks of Baba’s old tirade against theft, and then he thinks of how Baba had stolen Ali’s honor, Amir’s brother, and Hassan’s knowledge of his own identity.
The signs that Baba was Hassan’s real father become clear to the reader now too, and change things in hindsight – when Amir drove Ali and Hassan away, he was also robbing Baba of his son. Baba himself seems like much less of a saint now in light of this new knowledge, but there is yet another father/son relationship to add to the book.
Amir realizes that he and Baba are more similar than he had thought, as they both betrayed someone who was totally loyal to them. Amir feels that Rahim Khan called him here to atone for Baba’s sins as well as his own.
This is a new irony, that Amir is not so different from Baba in his betrayal. But Amir now starts to see that by saving Sohrab, he can share in Baba’s virtues, which redeemed Baba later in his life.
Amir cannot help thinking that he is responsible for Hassan’s death. If he had not driven Ali and Hassan from the house, they might have come to America with Baba and Amir, and things could have been totally different. Amir wishes that Rahim Khan had never called him and dredged up the past, but again he thinks of the phrase “a way to be good again,” and hopes that perhaps with Sohrab there is a way to end the cycle of betrayals and lies.
Even though Baba also betrayed Ali, Amir sees that his own betrayal ultimately led to Hassan’s death. There is more irony in that if Amir does go save Sohrab, he will be doing what Baba would have done – after his own betrayal – in having the courage to stand up for what is right. Amir is about to take his first positive steps toward redemption.
Amir rides a rickshaw back to Rahim Khan’s apartment, and on the way he realizes that he is not too old to start fighting for himself. Hassan was gone, but part of him lives on in Kabul. Amir finds Rahim Khan praying, and he tells him that he will go to Kabul and find Sohrab.
Amir realizes that Baba was right – Amir was unable to stand up for himself for most of his life – but now he has a chance to do the right thing. By rescuing Sohrab, Amir will symbolically be saving Hassan as well, and righting some of the wrongs of his past.